Have a hard time deciding what you want for dinner? Same, same. I actually have this problem a lot. My partner and I have varying tastes and so the Assembly Chef’s Hall on Richmond is the perfect solution for us. We made a date to finally check it out on a Friday night. I love that its open late (till 10pm!) and I would have countless choices. Actually, it MAY have taken me a bit longer than usual to decide on what I wanted to try because there were so many options and everything looked great!
We walked into the packed space around 7pm, DJ spinning against the back wall in front of large communal tables. There were so many sights and smells. Neon lights flickered, the walls were decorated with bright colours, a painted lady with a head full of flowers graced the wall of Reyna, cats, dogs and donkeys wearing sweatshirts and sunglasses were drawn at the base of the Love Chix kitchen. Pizza ovens slammed at Good Son, customers rushed by us with their trays filled with all sorts of delicacies, I turned my head as they passed, trying to get a glimpse of my future dinner.
Afterall, I had plenty to choose from. Assembly Chef’s Hall has rounded up 17 of Toronto’s top chefs and baristas (and their signature dishes and drinks) all under one roof. Whatever you chose for your meal, you would be getting the best of the best.
Some notable options are Reyna (Mediterranean share plates, charcuterie boards…) Dailo (New Asian cuisine with a French flare) Resto Boemo ( Canadian comfort food) and Café Nutbar (Superfood snacks for all you healthy folk!). Something for everyone, meat eaters and vegans alike!
After a lot of hemming and hawing (mostly from me) Leo decided to grab some Khao Soi Beef ($17) from Little Khao (Bangkok/ Central Thai style street food) I got to try a bite and it was delicious. I went for a personal favourite of mine and I was in a meat kind of mood, so I hit up Cherry Street BBQ. I grabbed some melt in your mouth brisket ($14) and a generous side of potato salad ($4.99). Food was great, but that was no surprise. Getting seating was a bit hard, especially around dinner time and we ended up getting standing room tables, but we made do. (FYI, they don’t take reservations and seating is first come first served)
There were tons of groups out to eat, lots of birthday balloons and even a gorgeous cake was brought over to a birthday boy from Short and Sweet bakery. The crowd was chill and everyone was having fun. A few patrons were hitting up the bar (two at the front and one at the back) that served up everything from cocktails to local craft beers.
After seeing some yummy looking cake being passed around, I walked over to the Short and Sweet bakery to grab a little dessert. Leo and I shared a birthday cake bar that was almost too good. (I got the last one, too! Sweet
If you really have your heart set on trying a specific item, try and come a bit earlier in the day or for lunch. I originally wanted a brisket sandwich from Cherry St BBQ but they ran out of buns (“We had 200 buns this morning!’ the worker told me from the kitchen) and like I said before, I snagged the last birthday cake bar from Short and Sweet (‘We try to stay open until 10pm, but once we run out of treats, we’ll close up’ I was told). I didn’t see this as a huge issue since I know how popular the hall is right now, but I know this might irk some people who might be eyeing a certain dish or dessert!
By the time we arrived, Tokyo Smoke and Bulldog Coffee were closed for the night. Makes sense, though! Their hours are 7am to 7pm for TS and 7am to 5pm for BC. I’m a sucker for anything colourful and would love to come back and try one of Bulldog’s rainbow lattes and I’ve heard Tokyo Smoke has an amazing matcha latte. All the more reason to try and visit for lunch. The space is a little far from my downtown office, but if I worked in the Financial District, I would be all over this place (and I’m sure it’ll be packed everyday around noon anyway!)
I’m so excited Assembly Chef’s Hall has opened downtown and that I finally was able to check it out. Leo and I were commenting that it would be a great place to bring our out of town friends who can come out and literally pick and choose the best cuisine Toronto has to offer under one roof. It’s fun, (somewhat) relaxed and a must do for any ‘foodie’. Be sure to check it out and for the love of god, grab a birthday cake bar!
Hey! I'm Sarah! A 30 something living in downtown Toronto with a great guy and an OK dog. I love seeing what my city has to offer and try to hit up as many fun events or attractions as I can! I haven't slept since 2004.